Why Doc Martin hates being called Doc Martin: Autism Spectrum Disorder on TV
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Autism spectrum disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent among university students (Dixon & Tanner, 2013). In order to better understand these students and accommodate their social disabilities in the classroom, academics need first to understand how the disorder presents. In a reversal of a 'Theory of Mind' strategy which uses television programs to teach people on the spectrum social skills, so too can neurotypical teaching staff get an insight into the thought processes of students on the spectrum by observing television characters who demonstrate the symptoms. Despite the show's refusal to 'diagnose' the character officially, Doc Martin's eponymous Dr Martin Ellingham is generally read by audiences as being on the spectrum. The show and the character offer insights into the workings of Martin's mind and humorously point out the social ramifications of his very literal thinking and non-existent bedside manner. This paper seeks to explore the ways in which this character from popular culture may be utilised as a means of addressing stigmas and misconceptions within the university classroom.